The quarantine period has been tough for tennis fans. With no tennis action on the schedule, they’ve had to go through some really dry days. However, an initiative by tennis channel recently had given fans a glimpse into what tennis might look like in the post-COVID world. They organized an indoor tournament in Florida with no crowds and reduced duration. Players like Hubert Hurkacz and Reilly Opelka highlighted the lineup.
Opelka would go on to win the tournament. However, the biggest talking point would be the enhanced safety measures as well as the empty stands. This prompted a debate as to whether the game was exciting at all without the energy brought about by the crowds.
Hubert Hurkacz recently gave an exclusive interview to Essentially Sports. Amongst a host of other issues, the Polish tennis player also talked about the experience of playing without the crowds. Let’s find out what he had to say.
Hurcakz believed that even though the experience was unique, it should not become the norm. He first addressed the unique format of the UTR Pro which was drawing attention. It was like a miniature form of tennis where a player could win a set by winning four games instead of the standard six.
“Yes that was great obviously when you practice a lot, you kinda want to do something different. And to be able to compete with really good guys, great players, that was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot.”
After this, he answered what it was like to play without the fans being present. We asked him whether he could see a future of tennis without the fans present in attendance.
“Well, I hope not. I mean it was fun to compete against players when it was under live stream so but I mean when the spectators are here, the crowds are enjoying the matches and watching them, they give an extra boost of energy and its definitely more fun.”
We couldn’t agree more with Hubert. Desperate times require desperate measures. Following this principle, the matches with no fans were nothing but a compromise. When things turn normal, it should not even be thought that fans could be done away with in a tennis match. They are essential to the ambiance as well as the revenue model of a tennis match.